I am 30 years old, a black mother and three white children. In my house love has no color.

A little background about myself: I am the youngest of eleven children. My mother died when I was six years old. No one ever taught me how to be a mother, but it seems to come naturally to me. I have looked after 20 nieces and nephews, three nieces and many relatives over the years. I have been working in childcare since graduating from high school. I have always been a nanny for several families and considered myself a natural in childcare. I had no idea how much three children had influenced my life…

I’ve wanted to be an adoptive mother for years. However, I was always afraid to embark on the foster home path because I didn’t believe that a single person like me could be a foster mom (no husband, no kids). I didn’t think I would qualify for this, but I researched, asked, and called anyway. Turns out you have to be at least 21 to be single or married! I talked about it with my family and finally decided to do it! I was living with my sister when I decided to get my two bedroom apartment and start the process.

I called St. Joseph Orphanage in August 2016 and they sent me the schedule and everything I needed to start classes. It was a complete emotional rollercoaster ride during the two months of class. Some lessons were easy to follow, others were difficult. When I heard that some kids were going to kindergarten, my eyes cried and my heart broke. I mean, I lost my mom when I was a kid, but I couldn’t imagine not having a family. At that time I wanted to take in as many children as possible.

The class went on and on and I was almost done. I had to choose the gender, race, and age group I wanted to raise. There was no doubt about the situation. African Americans and whites were the first two groups I distinguished. I don’t care about color. Love is love regardless of skin color. In terms of years, I was thinking of doing four and five. I was home schooled after my classes were completed and up to four children were admitted. I said, “Wow… that’s a lot!” “Am I up to the task?” But I was ready and confident in my abilities. Now it’s time to get started!

Joseph told me they could get a call any time of the day asking for a baby and then find a home. They will then send your information and your homeschooling and you will be matched. I waited expectantly. One day I called my case manager and told her I was thinking about having a baby. She said she would put it on my to-do list. Little did I know that there would be a call the next day! “We have a five-day-old that needs to be adopted.” “How old are you ?!” I wondered. I couldn’t say no when she gave me some background information. Sure, yes, yes, he can come to my house, I told her. Elijah Lee Hill visited my home on December 8, 2016. When they brought this little baby into my home, my heart absolutely broke down. Turns out this wasn’t my last post!

On May 10, 2017 I got a call about two sisters looking for work and of course I answered yes. They said, “Okay, we’ll come later tonight.” When I opened the door, this pretty little girl stood up. Although they said there would be two sisters, her name was Alexis Bowman and I understood she was alone. Her sister Mercedes Baumann had some problems and was sent to a group home. I made sure they communicated as much as possible. We went on weekends when we had free time so they could spend time together. Mercedes liked to show off her sister to her roommates.

As Elijah got older, we had to find a bigger place to live. We were looking for a three bedroom house and found one without realizing that our family was going to grow so much more. It turned out that Alexis missed her sister, and Mercedes wanted to leave the collective house. When I heard this, I immediately called the clerk and discussed the possibility of a Mercedes move with us. That was something the clerk was concerned about.

We started with overnight visits before Mercedes moved in with us on March 16, 2018. The girls, as well as little Ellie, were excited. Now I am alone, a 30-year-old single mother of three children, ages one to fifteen. What the hell were you thinking?

Do you have any idea what I was thinking? I absolutely adore these children and would not have it any other way. They were in need of a home, and I had many to provide. They were welcomed into my family right away. My family does not perceive race; they are simply children that needed someone. Yes, I’ve received a few stares while we’re out in public, but we ignore them and continue going. People have asked me, “Oh, are you babysitting?” to which I respond, “No, these are my children.” There were no questions. I never refer to my children as “foster children.” Because that is exactly what they are and will always be.

 

I asked the kids whether it was okay if I adopted them when they found out they could be adopted. No one had to think about their responses; it was a resounding YES! We discussed adoption with the caseworker, and she was convinced that we would be together forever. ‘Where have they been concealing you?’ she continued asking. We were all looking forward to starting this procedure.

The adoption process was lengthy and involved a great deal of paperwork. They asked the kids if they wanted to keep or change their last names. They would take the youngsters and speak with them to ensure that that was indeed what they desired. ‘Am I enough?’ I wondered frequently. Can I provide them with what they truly require?’ What’s more, guess what? That is something I am capable of. My family has been incredible in their support. They’ve always been there for me, even when people said, ‘Are you sure about adoption?’ That means you’ll be responsible for their financial well-being, right?’ ‘Do you think three kids isn’t a lot?’ But none of that was important to me! One of the finest recollections will always be the way they lighted up with joy when they found out what was about to happen.

One of the most memorable days of our life occurred on November 1, 2019. The day we officially joined Team Engleman! I moved from being a single person to a family of four. This isn’t the end, either, but we’re having fun right now.

What I want to say to everyone who has criticized me because I, a black woman, adopted three white children is that I am doing something that most people could not. These kids are in a wonderful household with a caring mother. In my home, love has no hue, and they are loved unconditionally. I’ve been talked about my entire life, but it’s never stopped me from doing what I was born to do. I have a goal, and I want to achieve it! If you’re thinking of fostering or adopting a child, I say go for it if it’s in your heart. One of the finest sensations in the world is knowing that you have helped a boy or girl find a home and a cause to be happy. It makes no difference if you’re single, divorced, married, black, or white. Someone’s life can be changed!”

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